August is approaching rather quickly and before I address the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity, I want to address the making of such a day of global recognition.
Black August is the representation of struggle. Black August is a clear representation of the resistance exhibited by the oppressed who fought not to return the deed of enslaving their unfortunate captors, holders or those who sought their demise; but, rather, to end the slave economy. Black August is the awakening of the poor of all nationalities to stand up and fight to end the oppression we encounter on all levels.
This fight doesn't entail the necessary requirement to pick up guns. Violence only begets violence. To bring peace, unity, growth, internationalism and global independence, we are to share our experiences to come up with a solution to prevent these unfortunate encounters from being transferred to our youth. The key is communication and patience. Black August is for all who seek programs of productive change to participate. We welcome all who are indeed sincere in change to engage in this growth.
Our commemoration of the 9 September 1971 Attica uprising should be a somber day of triumph and, more importantly, solidarity. The Attica uprising ignited not too long after the untimely demise of our beloved revolutionary comrade George Jackson, who was shot to death by tower guards in the San Quentin maximum security prison on 21 August 1971 — one year and two weeks after the death of his little brother Jonathan "Manchild" Jackson who was gunned down on 7 August 1970.
Much sorrow is attached to the Attica uprising, for the physical loss of so many brothers. The purpose of the Attica uprising was for better conditions of prisoners (i.e. education, cleaning areas, an end to racial discrimination, etc.). The courage these comrades displayed never will be forgotten. It is up to us to see that their memories are honored, and the first step to this effort is learning and then teaching those who wish to learn.
I currently reside in Attica and I teach as much as I possibly can regarding the law and history. It's the key to our liberation and only us (united soldiers) can be held responsible for the new surge of our youth entering the prison system at such young ages. We are their keys to betterment, provided we aim for better conditions ourselves.
During Black August fast till sundown. From September 9-13 fast as well from sun up to sundown in true solidarity of our comrades.
MIM(Prisons) responds: As we see in other articles about the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity, there are many ways to organize and recognize this day. Some will choose to fast, others will choose to engage in education towards greater unity, still others will spend the day in quiet contemplation and study. What you do will of course be determined somewhat by your conditions. But whatever your action, be sure to emphasize the building of peace and unity. In general, we don't agree with this writer that "violence only begets violence." We know that the oppressors won't put down their guns and stop killing those they oppress without physical force. But our current stage of struggle is a peaceful one. We echo this comrade's call to cease all violence on this day, and instead build between the groups that might otherwise stay apart. Talk about ways you can work together against the common enemy of the criminal injustice system. However you commemorate the Day of Peace and Solidarity, send in a report on what you did to Under Lock & Key on September 10 to be included in the next issue.
I thought I'd share how it works up here in Ad-Seg. I trip on how I've been going at it since the end of September. I'm doing what I'm supposed to do, from request forms, to 22 [inmate request] forms, to 602 [inmate appeal] and no good results. The appeals here are quick to catch a mistake and return it. First off, I am not a lawyer, second I'm a CCCMS mental health prisoner. But that does not mean anything here.
Anyhow, I wrote Sacramento, letting them know that I never wanted to do a 602 but it concerns my back brace and prescription glasses. And they're in my property at the property room. I had to pay for those 2 items in state and I needed them so I was OK with that. Now I'm just asking for what's mine and it's a need. I use a cane and have a vest. I bought some glasses from another prisoner who wanted hygiene, but I'm not supposed to do that.
Nobody listens here and the 602 process is meaningless. I don't know what else to do.
MIM(Prisons) responds: California was where the demand for grievances to be addressed began five years ago. It has since been taken up by comrades in a dozen other states. The focus is on petitioning state and federal officials responsible for the care of prisoners. In doing so, comrades are attempting to rally prisoners together as a group to defend their basic rights, like the ones the writer above describes; basic medical care and property rights.
But there are reasons why the arms of the injustice system are so unaccountable. Their central task is to control certain populations, and they must be given leeway to achieve that task. If their task was about justice, then obviously injustices like the ones above would not be tolerated. So we must rally together to ensure the rights of all are respected. Yet, ultimately, we must build a system that serves the interests of those who are oppressed and exploited by the current imperialist system that dominates our world. Petitions will not prevent these ongoing abuses.
Los E$tados Unido$ y Cuba recientemente acordaron restaurar sus lazos diplomáticas después de medio siglo de hostilidad, tomando pasos para finalizar uno de los últimos enfrentamientos en el mundo de la Guerra Fría. El anunciamiento del Presidente Obama, hecho en coordinación con el Presidente Raúl Castro, declaró que estos países alejados por largo tiempo volverán a comenzar cooperaciones en una serie de temas económicos y de viaje y el restablecimiento de la embajada Amerikana en La Habana, la cual fue cerrada después de la revolución Cubana en 1961.
Aunque la Revolución Cubana fue un golpe contra del imperialismo Amerikano, el cual mantuvo bajo llave a la economía Cubana, Cuba se volvió dependiente del estado capitalista de la Unión Soviética después de la revolución de 1959. Para entonces una nueva burguesía había subido en la Unión Soviética y se había alejado de su orientación socialista hacia el estado capitalista. En vez de construir socialismo en Cuba, Castro y su gobierno terminaron por construir una colonia satélite de la Unión Soviética.(1)
El rechazo Amerikano de asociarse con Cuba fue una reacción al exitoso alto de la denominación Amerikana de parte de la gente Cubana y una concesión a los tantos inmigrantes Cubanos ricos que se fugaron a los EE.UU. después de la revolución, en vez de una postura política seria. Los imperialistas Amerikanos no han dudado en asociarse con gobiernos y países que son fuertemente anti-Amerikanos cuando los beneficios económicos de la relación son imperiosos.
Los recientes cambios de póliza forjan lazos económicas significantes entre los dos países permitiéndole a instituciones financieras de EE.UU. abrir cuentas con contrapartes Cubanas, facilitando restricciones en la exportación de equipo agrícolas y telecomunicaciones a Cuba, permitiendo que los ciudadanos Amerikanos usen tarjetas de crédito y débito en la isla. El mayor alzamiento a corto plazo de los cambios vendrá por remesas, las cuales permitirá a los parientes de Cubanos mandar $2,000 al mes a sus tierra natal, que del limite presente de $500. Las remesas son la fuente más grande de ingreso económico de la isla. En efectivo y productos (aparatos y ropa), cuentan por 5100 millones de dólares al año en ingresos, casi el doble de lo del turismo que cuenta por unos 2600 millones de dólares.(2)
Los beneficios inmediatos para el país son obvios. El gobierno Cubano reportó que el crecimiento económico para el 2014 fue al rededor de 1.4%, y que aproximadamente 40,000-50,000 Cubanos emigraron en el año pasado. Por razones económicas, Cuba está hambrienta por efectivo, y su mayor socio de comercio, Venezuela, está enfrentando una crisis económica debido a la reciente caída de precios del aceite. Los analistas dicen que la posibilidad de perder la ayuda Venezolana tal vez jugó un papel en el alcance del acuerdo con los EE.UU.
Abundan Oportunidades de Negocios
La restauración de lazos comerciales beneficiará a la economía EE.UU., permitiéndole a compañías unirse a otros países que han operado por décadas en Cuba y hecho sus propias incursiones capitalistas, como Canadá y estados miembros de la Unión Europea. Agricultores Amerikanos, ya ayudados con el levantamiento parcial del embargo a productos de agrícolas, tendrán nuevas oportunidades de exportación. A pesar de las fuertes regulaciones y limitaciones estrictas, las exportaciones de productos agrícolas Amerikanos a Cuba crecieron de 4 millones de dólares en el 2001 a 547 millones de dolares en el 2010.
Grupos que van desde la Agencia de la Federación Agricola Amerikana (Amerikan Farm Bureau Federation) hasta la cámara de comercio de los EE.UU. apoyan fuertemente el levantamiento del embargo porque ven a Cuba como a un mercado de exportación significante. Las oportunidades abundan en otras partes, como en la telecomunicación, la reventa, el turismo, y recursos naturales. "Cuba necesita todo lo que hacemos en los Estados Unidos," dijo el director de relaciones del gobierno de Caterpillar, Inc. La compañía espera pronto instalar una concesionaria en Cuba. "Hemos estado pidiendo una póliza nueva hacia Cuba por 15 años." Compañías de hospitalidad Amerikanas también están deseosos de hacer negocios en Cuba cuando puedan. "El minuto que sea disponible, estaremos allá," se reportó que dijo el Jefe Ejecutivo Oficial de Choice Hotels Internacional, Inc.(3)
Todo esto es evidencia del sistema capitalista en Cuba. Las compañías Amerikanas quieren acceso a este mercado que corporaciones basadas en otros países han estado disfrutando por años.
De Yanqui a Imperialismo - Social Soviético: Negligencia de Alternativas Socialistas
Con la revolución de 1959, Cuba buscó desmantelar la hegemonía económica que los EE.UU. tenía sobre el país. La nacionalización parcial de ciertos sectores de la economía, seguida por confiscaciones completas de propiedades de propietarios extranjeros, fueron enfrentadas con fuerte oposición de EE.UU., pues muchos ciudadanos Amerikanos mantenían grandes inversiones allí. El tres de enero de 1961, el Presidente de EE.UU. Dwight D. Eisenhower rompió relaciones diplomáticas con Cuba después de que Castro culpó a la embajada Amerikana en La Habana de ser un centro de actividades contra-revolucionarias en el país. En febrero de 1962, el Presidente John F. Kennedy proclamó un embargo en la mayoría del comercio de los EE.UU. con Cuba. La economía Cubana en ese tiempo estaba en serio peligro. Las plantas industriales, confiscadas después de la revolución y ahora en un estado destartalado, necesitaban los materiales principales para seguir operando. Partes para los equipos de las fábricas y vehículos motorizados hechas en EE.UU. ya no estaban disponibles. Las cosechas eran pobres, y la racionalización de alimentos inició en marzo de 1962. En contra de este foro, Cuba firmó un acuerdo de comercio con la Unión Soviética por 700 millones de dólares, seguido por un crédito de 100 millones de dólares y un acuerdo de entregar una gran porción de azúcar dos años atrás. A mediados de julio de ese mismo año, miles de consultantes económicas y militares iban en su camino hacia a la isla.
Aunque fue un mejoramiento sobre el estado neo-colonial que tenía bajo EE.UU, la nueva alianza que Cuba forjó con la Unión Soviética fue apenas simbiótica en naturaleza. Esta relación con deudas-pendientes también afectó a Castro en su manejo para diversificar la economía Cubana atravéz de industrialización, cual al último comprobó ser sin éxito. Históricamente, la cosecha mas valiosa de Cuba ha sido la caña de azúcar. Bajo la tutela de EE.UU, más de la mitad de la tierra de cultivo era dedicada a esta cosecha para exportarla a los mercados de EE.UU. Poca cambió después de la revolución, y la azúcar contaba por casi dos tercios de todos los réditos de exportaciones. Esta gran dependencia en una sola cosecha continuó a obstruyendo la economía Cubana. Cuba necesitaba azúcar para cumplir su tratado de comercio con la Unión Soviética y sus aliados, y como resultado, su diversificación agricultura y su habilidad de alimentar a su gente sufrió. La economía de Cuba se mantuvo estancada, y se volvió muy dependiente en la ayuda Soviética. Eventualmente con la caída del bloque Soviético, Cuba fue herida económicamente severamente.
Además, la ayuda material dado a Cuba fue inferior en calidad, y no estaba equipada para las necesidades y condiciones climáticas del país Caribeño. La abrogación temprana de revolución violenta por todo Latinoamerica de Castro lo puse en desventaja y debilitó las relaciones de Cuba con la Unión Soviética. Los Soviéticos por su parte acortar la ayuda económica cada que el gobierno de Cuba cruzara la raya, como fue el caso cuando Cuba se opuso a la invasión y de Checoslovaquia por la Unión Soviética y sus países en 1968. Después de una ronda torciendo en brazo económica, Castro tomo una estancia más neutral.
A diferencia de una aparente cooperación económica de la Soviética-revisionista, la linea de China comunista en esa época en consideración a la ayuda material y financiera socialista estaba basado en cooperación mutua y aconsejó que debería hacerse a la medida de la necesidad de ambos países con la meta hacia una economía auto-suficiente. De ninguna manera debería de ser condicional y llevar altos intereses, lo cual perpetúa el cielo de endeudamiento en el país recipiente. La ayuda de material debería de ser de primera calidad y no anticuado tecnológicamente. También deberá servir sus condiciones materiales. Implementaciones agrícolas Soviéticos exportadas a Cuba, por ejemplo, causaron mucho daño en los campos de caña de azúcar.
En el último discurso sobre el tema de normalización de relaciones, el Presidente Raúl Castro dijo que Cuba "no dejará sus principios socialistas." A pesar de su aserción nosotros contendemos que él y Fidel ya lo habían hecho desde 1961. Ellos aceptaron la falacia de que uno no puede tener producción sin incentivo, instituyendo varias medidas agrarias y industriales del estilo Soviético, como la implementación de incentivos de trabajo y diferenciales de sueldos para alzar mejor las cuotas de producción. Viendo las implementaciones de Mao Zedong de los incentivos morales para recompensar los logros de producción por encima de lo normal de la fuerza laboral en China, pudieron haber sido una alternativa viable a esta. La lucha de clases también fue puesta al margen con su enfoque en rendimiento económico como medida del éxito del país en construir socialismo, la cual constituye un fracaso de deshacerse de la teoría de las fuerzas productivas - una póliza que ha llevado a muchas revoluciones socialistas a sus perdiciones revisionistas.
Esta es una razón crítica por el cual la Revolución Cultural en China representa el mayor avance hacia el comunismo en la historia: teorías y prácticas capitalistas no van a desaparecer así nada más bajo el socialismo y deben de ser combatidos activamente. De otra manera una nueva burguesía se levantará desde las fuerzas proletarias anteriores y intentarán tomar el poder en contra de los intereses de las masas. Esto pasó en la Unión Soviética, y su trato a Cuba demuestra claramente como los capitalistas del estado ignoraron las necesidades de la gente cubana.
Desde que Raúl Castro tomó el control de su hermano Fidel en el 2008, el gobierno Cubano se ha tomado una serie de reformas económicas tentativas para mover al país de un estado capitalista de cuadro a un sistema capitalista totalmente desarrollado.
Manteniendo Solidaridad con Cuba en Perspectiva
Habiendo soportado siglos de repetidas intrusiones imperialistas, Cuba se les ha ingeniado para alcanzar un grado de independencia y soberanía sobre sus asuntos. Apoyamos el derecho de auto-determinación de Cuba, y aplaudimos el notable éxito del gobierno Cubano de proveer servicios educativos y médicos a todos los segmentos de la sociedad Cubana. La estancia anti-imperialista de Cuba en una serie de asuntos se mantiene fuerte, y en una confrontación con imperialismo, Cuba se merece nuestro apoyo. Más sin embargo Cuba no es socialista, y la gente de Cuba sabe que su gobierno hasta este punto de su historia no es un gobierno revolucionario, sino un pragmático. Es nuestra esperanza que la gente de Cuba experimenten un florecimiento de conciencia revolucionaria y que se organicen por sus derechos en los años venideros conforme la intrusión capitalista pone a su país en la mira para futura explotación económica.
The protected, favored race here at Belmont Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville, Ohio is black, especially Muslims. Racism is against whites, light-skinned Hispanics, Jews, etc. A large part of the reason for this unusual situation is the rural nature of the prison and thus the staff employed by the prison. The catchment area for employees is 97% white, encompassing rural Belmont and surrounding Ohio counties and the bordering WV county visible from the prison yard. While it is counter-intuitive that an overwhelming white staff favors black inmates, it is easily explained: they are scared of dark skin, of people with whom they have had little or no interaction other than in the prison. The mainstream media's portrayal of blacks terrifies them. Because of this fear, blacks get a "pass" on behaviors quickly causing disciplinary action for whites, light-skinned Hispanics, etc. The few black staff overtly favor blacks as well. Due to this, and the inadequate socialization and education of the overwhelming majority of blacks here, has led them to become oppressors of these same "white boys" groups by the black majority. Official prison policy is "equalization" of blacks amongst the eight kennels of 272 per kennel, that insures this oppression in every kennel. (We also have the same dog program as in the "Prison Dog Rehab Program Underscores Inhumynity to Humyns" article of in ULK 44, and yes, the dogs are better treated than inmates.)
This leads me to address the racism in ULK 44, that clearly contradicts point #3, "We promote a united front with all who oppose imperialism." An example is contained in the response from MIM(Prisons) on the article "Ohio Guards Instigate Beating, Lock Down Prisoners as Punishment": "a systematic oppression of certain nations (New Afrikan, [email protected], First Nations) by the nation in power (the white nation)." This is overtly racist, incorrect and divisive! Power being defined in terms of political, social and economic power, that exploits the national and international proletariat, the oppressors are not all white. A thorough look at the exploitation of non-whites by non-whites in the First World, especially in the United States, Western and Eastern Europe and Asia can be elaborated upon in a full article within any upcoming issue of Under Lock & Key. Though where it would fit in the listed themes for issues 45-48 is a question, I could do so if MIM(Prisons) would be agreeable to my becoming a ULK Field Correspondent.
Incorrectly defining the oppressor class as white disenfranchises 100's of millions of the oppressed "majority" in the U.S. and Europe from the struggle rather than being inclusive. In Dialectical Materialism, Mao said, "Because the oppressed class [an economic class, not racial groups] fails when it adopts the wrong plans and succeeds by correcting its plans..." The wrong plans are to divide the proletariat along racial lines, causing the exact divisions necessary for oppression. The correct plans include all the proletariat; white, brown, black, yellow or purple. Only then, in unity, can there be the equality necessary to end oppression.
MIM(Prisons) responds: MIM(Prisons) distinguishes ourselves from other groups on six key points and this writer cites our point #3, promoting a united front with all who oppose imperialism, but then ignores point #4 which clearly states that we disagree that there is a proletariat in the First World, especially within the white nation:
"A parasitic class dominates the First World countries. As Marx, Engels and Lenin formulated and MIM Thought has reiterated through materialist analysis, imperialism extracts super-profits from the Third World and in part uses this wealth to buy off whole populations of so-called workers. These so-called workers bought off by imperialism form a new petty-bourgeoisie called the labor aristocracy; they are not a vehicle for Maoism. Those who work in the economic interests of the First World labor aristocracy form the mass base for imperialism's tightening death-grip on the Third World."
The quote above about systematic oppression is not "overtly racist," rather it is specifically addressing nation and not race. Certainly "white" is a racially loaded term, and one could argue that "Euro-Amerikan" is preferable. Yet, "white" remains a term that people can relate to and that often has more negative connotations among the oppressed. We want to stress the negative and encourage the oppressed to not identify with Amerikanism, which is the number one enemy of the world's people. We are not encouraging people to be anti-white because of some racial attributes (racism) but rather we are opposing the reality of the white nation oppressing other nations (national oppression).
This letter is from a first-time reader, so the above is old hat to our regular readers. But what made this letter more interesting to us was within the context of other things going on in Ohio. We can say with certainty that what the writer above reports is the exception to the rule in both Ohio and throughout the United $tates prison system. While this could just be one persyn's subjective experience, it is feasible enough that we will assume for now that what s/he says about New Afrikans playing the oppressor role in Belmont is true at this time. Now let's look at a report from a USW organizer in a different Ohio prison:
"A lot of the individuals professing white supremacist beliefs also contain some underlying socialist views. Whether enough of a test to be an indicator of 'all' or not, i've decided to halt attempts at developing their consciousness at this time. i've opened up my study group to more than a few of them, usually after they've continued to join in open conversations over the range. However, once they see materials that expose Amerika as an oppressor nation they go 'subjective' on me, getting extremely defensive and also protective in claiming the united $tates as their rightful possession."
Our comrades at this prison have decided to focus on single-nation organizing due to their experiences. We want to commend both their efforts to be open to all potential allies, as well as their scientific approach to the situation. Taking a scientific approach requires dealing in probability. This comrade acknowledges that h limited experience does not prove that all white supremacists are pro-imperialism, but that combined with our theory of the labor aristocracy it supports a practice of focusing on organizing New Afrikans. Clearly this single-nation strategy is not coming from a racist political line, but a scientific assessment of national alliances in practice. This practice will ultimately prove more successful than if these comrades had hidden their critique of Amerika in an effort to unite with these white supremacists, which is why this is a dividing-line question for us.
In some writings on the First World lumpen we've specified that we are talking about the oppressed nation lumpen only. This is because we see nation as the principal contradiction, leading to the vast majority of whites allying with imperialism, even at the lowest economic classes. In other writings we talk about uniting the imprisoned lumpen as a whole. This is because the conditions of imprisonment put all nationalities in the same position, living side-by-side, where there is greater potential for them to recognize their common plight. And there is history of this being true in Ohio itself during the Lucasville uprising, as well as in California. In both cases, it was not just white prisoners, but the Aryan Brotherhood who stood with oppressed nation lumpen organizations to demand concessions from the state. It is for this reason that in point #3 we say, "Even imperialist nation classes can be allies in the united front under certain conditions."
On the other hand there are countless examples of oppressed nation lumpen organizations working against the people, even playing the role of organizing violence in alliance with the state, as the first writer above alludes to. This is the dual nature of the lumpen class overall that makes it a potentially dangerous and revolutionary class. Yet, the national contradiction in the United $tates favors the revolutionary potential for oppressed nation lumpen in the long run, while making it more likely for white lumpen to become the foot soldiers fighting for a fascist state to rise. At the same time, we believe the probability of anti-imperialism to develop among white prisoners to be higher than white Amerikans in general. It is not that black=good and white=bad in an absolute sense. It is about percentages. And as our USW comrade found while putting h theories into practice, while there is a high percentage chance of white prisoners opposing the state, and even favoring seemingly socialist ideals, there is a very low percentage chance of them opposing Amerikan exceptionalism and hegemony. Such people are allies in the prison reform struggle, but rarely in the anti-imperialist struggle.
On the morning of 30 March 2015 I was called once again to the security threat group (STG) coordinator's office. When I arrived, there were already five brothers waiting so I asked one of them what was going on. The komrade explained that the STG coordinator was profiling dudes as members of STGs but I thought to myself that I couldn't be there for that because I had already been profiled two times. After almost an hour of wondering what it could be I was finally called into his office.
As I sat down on the opposite side of the watchdog, there was a moment of silence and a menacing glare being aimed at me and I realized that this watchdog would try three tactics to deploy me from my task. He would begin with the "scare tactic" by throwing false accusations as if I've violated some rule, and he would use any of my past history as evidence of why I am in fact guilty of the accusations. He would then apply pressure on me with the "good cop tactic" in order to take me off my defenses by explaining to me how much he understands and how much he hates to profile me but "it is his job and he hopes I understand." Finally he would play his "lets make a deal tactic" by either trying to convince me to turn informant or to compromise the integrity of the people, which to me is just as bad if not worse than the first choice.
Well as soon as I realized this I decided to apply my own tactics to destroy this pig. Because I have a vigorous study habit in my cell, amongst my peers and with the komrades of MIM(Prisons) it's helped me become well informed on not only our history but also with the rules that currently govern me here on this plantation. His first tactic was impossible to implement with my cool, calm and sure demeanor and my basic knowledge of my rights as a prisoner. Even when some of the information was accurate, I would deny, deny, deny! Deny not out of fear but out of strategy, because I believe we are at a point where we must use the clandestine strategies of the Black Liberation Army to regroup, refashion and re-establish ourselves until we are strong enough. But until then we must vigilantly study and organize.
As the watchdog tried to perform his "good cop tactic" I informed him that his reasoning for pursuing to profile me for the third time within seven months was clearly a violation of my First Amendment rights and is of course retribution for my political activity. Once I made it clear I recognized the constant profiling as a means to intimidate me into submission he was stunned; what a dumb pig! Stand your ground and do not accept any of their undercover allegations or remarks, komrade, and if you do not feel comfortable enough to slay the pig verbally then don't say anything. You are not obligated to say anything but "no!"
The watchdog's last and only tactic left was to persuade me to "make a deal." The watchdog claimed that there was a file on me that held information about how many times I had received mail from the Black Panther Party, and because they had just confiscated more through my incoming mail, he had to profile me as a "Black supremacist"!
He may have thought he was dealing with "just another nigga" but I cut so deep into this pig, I swear he squealed! I explained to him that although I am not a Panther (deny) I am well aware that they were indeed not racist. I explained to this dumb pig that the Panthers do not fight racism with racism, they fight racism with solidarity and they fought for the freedom, justice and equality of all people. When he saw that I knew this, he offered to label me as a Panther as if that would make things better. I let him know it would not be better until I'm off the STG list totally because by this being their third time profiling me (August 2014 as a Blood and January 2015 as a Five Percenter) they obviously don't have anything concrete proving any affiliation, so their only true intent is to just keep me profiled by any means necessary.
This has become my normal routine for the last year and a half. Although I honor sacrificing and suffering for my people, if we can take actions to prevent these encounters at the moment, we should do so. The smallest tactics we use will make the biggest differences in our struggle for liberation, such as receiving material from MIM(Prisons) or any other material in someone else's name; specifically if your mail is red flagged like mine. Write the dates of your outgoing/incoming mail, and any incidents or run-ins you may have or witness with the pigs, and never keep all the reading material you and your komrades use in only your possession. Keep it in other brother's cell not only so they can absorb the knowledge but also in case you become a target and the watchdogs confiscate your things. I hope my experiences will be a beacon of light for those seeking strategies for their plantation. Until our liberation, the struggle continues.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer makes a good point about the importance of tactics that will make it possible for us to evade censorship and set ourselves up for success within the very repressive environment of prison. It is very important that we pay close attention to security, and all comrades can take a stand against profiling and validation as members of any organization, whether or not you have some involvement with that group. Validation and profiling are tactics of the prison to target and isolate activist prisoners. This is just one more piece to the criminal injustice system's social control of oppressed nations. Follow this comrade's example and work out your own tactics for fighting back.
It is glaringly clear in my mind the total incongruity of thought within the ULK 43 article "Pigs Kill in Oregon", including the non-sequetur involving disunity, which is pointed out, and the mindless disunity and consistent antagonism toward other prisoners this writer conveniently labels as "rats" about ten times.
The prisoner wrote about the disunity and lack of education and then goes on in a paragraph after that to display a disturbing level of that same disunity and lack of education by launching into a long rant on "f'ing snitchery." It seems that this individual is trying to blame all their problems in life on the perceived myriad "snitches" around him, even to the point of somehow blaming the fight his friend got into and then was supposedly shot for, on snitches, displaying a rather delusional hatred and irrational deduction.
My point is this: the writer is displaying, almost throughout the entire article, the same sort of hatred, disunity, impulsive and spite-filled rhetoric which are all the primary thinking pattern and behaviors behind gang mentalities and the worst disunity behind Amerika's prison walls. There is a clear disconnect in this person's reasoning. Now, don't get me wrong, in the case of people who genuinely and perniciously "snitch" on others, or those who spy on others as agents of the state or for personal gain, I have as little use or tolerance for them as the writer.
But the point is that I don't see anywhere in the article, aside from the lip service paid in one paragraph, any demonstration or advice for the actual practice of unity. The writer complains, for example, about guards targeting people who refuse to sit at chow hall tables "belonging" to other groups (gangs) - great unity! - but makes no mention on how this may be overcome through any unity of the prisoners themselves. It's all the "snitches'" fault there's no unity or education?
Also, what exactly are they getting snitched on for so much? A planned insurrection? At any rate, such "focoist" action will only make things worse. And instead of making scapegoats of others, perhaps this writer could devise ways of approaching the purportedly overwhelmingly hate-inducing snitch problem in his prison by considering some tactics besides hate-mongering and blame-shifting. Like, for instance, trying to figure out why that's going on to the seeming level the writer makes it out to be, maybe getting inside their heads, and trying to constructively draw the "snitches" away from their behaviors and such by addressing their fears or convincing them that the people they tell on are really on their side — instead of, as this writer does, target them for wrath and redundant invective.
I refuse to subscribe to this kind of hatefulness — against anyone or anything. It's self-destructive and un-constructive to any positive ends. Hate and invective like those displayed are almost invariably products of fear, and fear is an irrational emotional response to the unknown or a threat. This is not scientific, rational thinking and I reject it unequivocally. Other articles in this issue are commendable examples of effort in unity and reason, these are the types of writing I wish to see much more of in ULK, and are of the sort more likely to foster positive and constructive thinking patterns and effort among readers. Keep the childish, bile-filled hate speeches out.
Even the constant references to guards as "pigs," "swine," etc. is un-constructive and ignoble in my opinion. We can oppose oppression without reducing ourselves to the same level of intolerance, hate and bigotry as our oppressors. We can effectively deal with it in logical, reasoned, intelligent and mature terms. Maybe, just maybe, if every humyn being can begin seeing another not as an "it" — that "it" being a "snitch," "rat," "pig," "jerk," "punk," "criminal," "saint," etc — but as a "thou" who holds the same great potential as every other humyn being, be they white, Black, male/female, etc., then we can use all that energy spent in otherwise hating each other for endeavoring to try to bring us all to an understanding that we are not just individual units separated from a common whole in nature, and making all those former "its" realize that their oppositions to the "thous" is futile, destructive and hurtful also to themselves. And maybe some of those "rats" and "pigs" will quit their negative pursuits and join the rest of humynity in real solidarity. That's the kind of work I consider solid. Hatred only begets hatred. Let's try that line.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Overall this writer makes a good point that we should be doing all we can to organize people for greater unity, and in a situation like the one described in the Oregon prisoner's ULK article, where so many prisoners seem to be working with the guards, it's possible that some of them could be won over to the side of their own people.
But this writer is suggesting that we can have unity with all people. While that's certainly the ideal that we always strive for, we also need to be scientific about who are our enemies and who are our friends in our present moment. We cannot just pray for unity with all humyns because we are the same species, absent an analysis of our current conditions when there is systematic class, nation and gender oppression in the world. Appealing to the pigs' humynity is a waste of our time, just as it is to appeal to the bourgeoisie to voluntarily give up their money and power in the interests of all humankind.
In Under Lock & Key we generally don't print articles that are just complaining about the dire conditions or general oppression without offering a solution or talking about organizing work. When this is missing from an article we will add it to our response. And so in that sense we agree with this writer's general call for scientific articles that build unity.
We don't share this writer's condemnation of use of harsh language for our enemies. The Black Panther Party started using the term "pigs" to help disempower the cops and empower the people to fight back. As the Maoist Internationalist Movement explained in an essay on tone:
"The middle-classes otherwise known as the petty-bourgeoisie constantly ask MIM to 'tone it down.' The classes in-between the imperialists and the property-less known as proletarians are inclined to believe that there is a neutral educational tone appropriate for all communications.
In reality, a neutral tone is not appropriate when your friend is about to fall off a cliff. You better yell in excitement: 'Look out!' According to the petty-bourgeoisie and the imperialists, there is no reason within the status quo to be yelling or using a harsh tone. In contrast, we see an emergency situation in reality, a reality so bad it needs to be overthrown. Hence, we communists seek to match our tone to underlying substance. ...
The oppressed and exploited have a lot to be angry about. The bourgeois and petty-bourgeois political organizations do not suit them and sometimes the result is pseudo-rebellion through street-crime. Often times the spirit of these pseudo-rebellious people is in the right place, but they don't see political leaders with the right tone."
After reading ULK 43 I decided to write for the cause. Seeing the article "Denied Recreation in Ad-Seg" written by a Texas prisoner made me want to expound on the same issues and expose the injustice in Texas prisons as a whole. From general population to Ad-Seg we all take the unfair shake of the hand; from the food on most units, to the disciplinary system, to the grievance system setup, to segregation placement and release. It's all kangaroo! And the chance for changing this seems highly unlikely. The "new" Willie Lynch and Jim Crow still has the masses blind, programmed and divided.
On this unit there are only two grievance investigators yet neither knows any answers to questions about grievances. Some grievances I've filed that have substantial evidence against officers or the system take 90 days to "investigate" and/or come up lost. Others come back with such a general response, it doesn't address the issues grieved. I have over ten grievances with the same response!
There's no need to really comment on the disciplinary system. Anyone who's ever caught a case knows how that turns out 99% of the time. I've never understood how the substitute counsel is supposed to be here to help us prisoners in such a matter when they are employed by the same agency that employs the captain who will find you guilty.
All of the conditions for management and release can be found in the Administrative Segregation Plan in the law library, signed by Director Rick Thaler on 6 March 2012. A lot of us are in segregation for some b.s., and once here they keep us here against policy with lame reasons or some non-violent infraction which has nothing to do with segregation placement anyway. Here are a few helpful things listed in the Administrative Segretation Plan.
I. Definitions A. At no time shall administrative segregation be used as punishment for misconduct. Punishment of an offender shall be assessed and imposed only pursuant to the provisions of the rules governing disciplinary procedures.
VI. Recommendations for Release B. General Procedures 1. The ASC may make recommendations to the SCC [State Classification Committee] for removal of an administrative segretation offender from administrative segregation who is between routine SCC reviews. 2. When considering the release of an administrative segregation offender to the general population, the SCC shall base the decision on whether the offender would still be: a. A current escape risk; b. A physical threat to staff or other offenders; c. A threat to the order and security of the prison as evidenced by repeated, serious disciplinary violations
Grab a look at that policy, then ask yourself and others, does it take keeping a human being in segregation 3, 4, 5, or 10 years for any reason, provided their behavior is not continuously violent? I myself have been in segregation for almost 600 days now, for "possession of a weapon," that was not actually on me but in a cell where me and another prisoner were housed. Anyway, I'm labeled as a threat. I haven't done anything to anybody, haven't caught any violent cases either. When will I not be considered a threat? I'm not even labeled as part of a "security threat group," or escape risk!
To all of us in the struggle I just want to say keep your head high and strong. Learn the rules and know the game.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This author's experience shows that prisoncrats don't have to follow their own rules for responding to grievances, just like they don't need any substantive justification for torturing individuals for years. There are many who spend their time and energy trying to improve the protections for prisoners by enhancing prison rules. We can use this tactic to our advantage to make space for our organizing, but ultimately we wonder what's the big picture? The anecdote above is just one small example of the role of social control of Amerikkkan prisons which has been blatant for decades. And prison reformers have been trying to for decades improve these same prisons' conditions, while doing nothing to dismantle the economic system which requires oppression of groups over other groups. Prisons are a manifestation of that hierarchy, and capitalism is the economic system that we must destroy.
When the U.S. border patrol concocted a plan in 2005 with the help of George W. Bush called "Operation Streamline" the idea was to get tough on immigration by arresting and prosecuting those who crossed the border, instead of simply deporting them or placing them in a civil detention center. According to a report by the Bureau of Justice (BOJ) more than 80% of immigrant defendants received a prison sentence.(1) This punishment was for crossing an imaginary line into territory that was, before the battle of Alamo, their country's land. If one looks at it from the side of someone who crosses illegally, held up to 15 months in jail, one must ask what the hell is going on with this new prison system. According to the BOJ statistics the more than 60,000 people convicted of immigration crimes in 2014-15 were primarily found guilty of one of two things: "illegal entry" or "illegal re-entry."
In Texas, where many arrests are taking place, it is costing the state $270/day to house immigrants, not including food. That's $98,550 a year! Former Attorney General Eric Holder announced reforms to the nation's drug sentencing laws in an attempt to reduce the number of federal prisoners held on non-violent offenses, but these actions are not tackling the bigger picture. The expanding pool of new prisoners has meant steady business for the two largest U.S. private prison corporations. Last year, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) received 30% of its revenue from federal contracts with the U.S. Marshall Service and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), a total of $546 million. The GEO group received more than 25% of its revenue for a total of $384 million and four of the CCA's board's senior executives are former BOP employees. In Pearsall, Texas, there is a jail that can house up to 1,800 men at any one time, sleeping up to 100 on iron bunks in dormitories. This isn't a traditional jail, but a piece of land surrounded by fences topped by razor wire and run by the GEO group.
A Congressional Budget Office analysis of new senate immigration legislation estimated that
"the additional prosecutions under the bill would lead to an increase in incarceration costs totaling about $1.6 billion over the 2014-2023 period ... Those costs would stem from the increased number of individuals prosecuted, the change in sentencing guidelines, and the rate of conviction. ... Implementing the legislation would increase the prison population by about 14,000 inmates annually by 2018. The total additional costs to detain, prosecute, and incarcerate offenders would total $3.1 billion over the 2014-2023 period..."(2)
In Arizona, three privately run jails have contracts that require 100% occupancy. The main incentive for private prisons is to make money and they lobby politicians to keep it that way. The United $tates is a country where private corporations profit from "lockup quotas." So in the eyes of capitalism "Operation Streamline" is full steam ahead.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Private prisons are indeed cashing in on national oppression in the United $tates. And the use of prisons to target migrants is a key component to the imperialists' efforts to keep the borders closed and hoard wealth for Amerikan citizens. Defining the act of crossing an imaginary line in pursuit of a safer environment or a higher wage as illegal and requiring imprisonment is just one more way that the Amerikan criminal injustice system ensures a system of social control over oppressed people within U.$. borders. And the private prisons have found a way to turn a system that is inherently built on taking a financial loss (the government has to subsidize prisons as they do not make enough money from prisoner labor to run themselves) into a profitable enterprise for imperialist parasites. Sadly, there is no problem filling these prison quotas, as the criminal injustice system shows no sign of cutting back on what has become the largest imprisonment country per capita in the world. We have written before about the private prisons economic push to lock up more migrants.(1) And in response to these conditions, more recently we have seen some migrant prisoner protests.(2) In the end we won't be able to defeat this system of national oppression against migrants and all oppressed nations without dismantling imperialism itself. Imperialism depends on closed borders to ensure luxury for a few at the expense of the rest of the world.
I would like to give props to Loco1 of USW for the article in ULK 38, "Lasting Impressions." It eloquently expressed the realistic truth of non-whites rising into Amerikkkan political poverty and oppression, but ultimately becoming part of the Amerikkkan imperialist machine, and therefore part of the problem. They undeniably dance to the same tune as the kapitalist oppressors, which is the only way they can get elected into office in the first place. The oppression they become co-conspirators of far outweighs any good they may be trying to contribute to cultural progress, the revolutionary movement, or even reformism. President Obama's black face on the white-Amerikkkan agenda does very little to counter the injustices he inflicts upon the less fortunate. His priority is to please white-Amerikkka and contribute to kapitalism. Everything else is secondary.
Revolutionary minds can learn from Loco1's political view. However, it draws concern when Loco1 talks of redistributing the lands fairly: "you get what you need. Nothing more, nothing less." Subsequently following a successful revolution this act alone would shift the possession of land for one colonizer to another at the expense and exploitation of the indigenous peoples. Very little of what I've read from the MIM organization has ever gotten to the heart of land claims, which should first and foremost be redistributed back to the First Nation original owners. Many indigenous will be part of the revolution. Non-natives seem to think they are entitled to this land as spoils of war, with complete disregard to the First Nations' claims. Communism is supposed to eliminate oppression. This act would contribute to it, but with power shifting to the hands of a different ethnic and political class.
A complete overthrow of Amerikkkan power should give the land back to those it's belonged to since the beginning of time. This soil is the Redman's tribal ancestral roots and the creator's gift to our people. This includes Mexicanos. Whatever land, if any, is eventually "redistributed fairly" should be at the sole discretion of its tribal owners. Period. (And it's important that non-natives understand this.) Land would be distributed considerately and compassionately as they feel necessary and see fit. Unless, of course, the communist victors then choose to redirect their war towards the First Nation peoples with the intent of keeping them on reservations and stealing the land by force. That would make them no different than this current Amerikkkan imperialist swine.
In the article Loco1 spoke with the voice of New Afrikans but I think he should rethink his ideas for land grab from the indigenous point of view, who have suffered the biggest atrocities and injustices in history.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a letter that we forwarded to Loco1 for comment. Having not received a response we will address this question now. It seems we have great unity with the writer above, and we appreciate this point and inquiry. While Loco1's original point was more about combatting Amerikkkan exceptionalism, which justifies Amerikans having more than everyone else, the lack of mention of First Nations land claims is certainly a valid critique. It is an ultra-left error in that it is looking towards the ideal future of communism (from each according to their ability, to each according to their need), before addressing the more immediate task of national liberation.
This is an issue that comrades address in our new book, [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. Though [email protected] themselves are indigenous to this land, claiming all of the southwest United $tates could be seen as a threat to First Nations, including the largest reservation in the United $tates of the Navajo nation. MIM has long been friendly to the Blackbelt Thesis as well, and has printed maps showing both of these territories. We agree with revolutionary [email protected] and New Afrikan movements that land is central to the question of national liberation. As nations within what is today the United $tates, a failure to claim and liberate their own territory is a failure to liberate these oppressed nations. The same is true for all First Nations.
The drawing of new boundaries today is more of an agitational exercise than an actual political reality, except for most First Nations. So we expect First Nations to continue to be at the forefront of determining future border issues. Their weakness, of course, is in their numbers. So it is an important warning that the comrade above issues to ensure that a national program of one oppressed nation does not impose itself onto that of another. Not only is this necessary for building a just world, it will be necessary for a successful anti-imperialist project. Any efforts by an internal semi-colony to liberate itself without regard for and cooperation with the efforts of the others will lead to no true liberation and will end in it being a puppet to the imperialists rather than being free of them.
There must be a united front of the internal semi-colonies against U.$. imperialism. And once imperialism is overthrown, in imperialist nations there will need to be a joint dictatorship of the proletariat of the oppressed nations to take power and determine how society can best be run in the interests of the formerly oppressed of the world. Exactly how they address the land question between themselves, as well as with the existing oppressor nation on this land, will be determined in the evolution of that struggle, which will certainly bring about many more changes in the process.
I have been engaged in halting some rather disturbing developments with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC would like to consider themselves the penultimate authority on "hate groups." Their reputation has come into question numerous times — most recently by branding African and communist/Maoist philosophical revolutionary organizations "hate groups."
In 2014, former professor of sociology at Portland State University, Randall Evan Blazak, and current professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, Pete Simi, went to the SPLC headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama. They travelled there to meet with SPLC pundit and media hound Mark Potok, at a meeting that included a few other academics and freelance investigative reporter Bill Morlin.
The SPLC wants to use universities and academics to "study, research and report" on activities of "hate groups" under the direction of the SPLC without using or even mentioning that the SPLC is involved. Mark Potok openly stated that when groups or individuals find out the SPLC is involved, they "quit talking" and "coverup". The SPLC is doing whatever it can to obtain information on the people's revolutionary organizations. Evidently they now look at these organizations as one of the main sources of racial terror.
Beware of any academic "studies" or research organizations attempting to contact anyone under academic auspices. They amount to nothing more than spies for the SPLC. Our business is our business — and none of theirs. Back in 2000, I forced then Professor Randall Blazak out of the organization we co-founded named the Oregon Spotlight for turning local anti-racists in to the FBI and SPLC.
All of us, no matter our creed or methods must come together and secure our information. Please alert everyone you are able. The SPLC works closely with all pigs and acts as a clearinghouse of information. As a private organization they are not subject to "Red Scare" laws and can act under the cover of U.$. law.
I am fighting this from prison. I hope others join in. We do not need a "fifth column" amongst our ranks.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We can't speak to the specifics of Blazak or other professors' specific work but in general what this comrade reports is true. First, the FBI lists them right on their website stating, "The FBI has forged partnerships nationally and locally with many civil rights organizations to establish rapport, share information, address concerns, and cooperate in solving problems. These groups include such organizations as the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, the National Organization for Women, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Disability Rights Network."(1) Second, the Southern Poverty Law Center has incorporated into its "hate group" work the fight against what they call "Black separatists" and included among the groups they target are the Nation of Islam, the Black Riders Liberation Party and the New Black Panther Party.(2) This approach to identifying racism by pretending to be color blind makes clear the failings of the concept of race. It is national oppression that underlies the system of one nation dominating another that is inherent to imperialism. Racism is the ideology that arises from national oppression to identify certain groups of people as inferior based on supposed biological differences. When an oppressed nation fights back against this system they do not have the power to oppress other nations, and so calling them out for "racism" or "reverse racism" is missing the importance of power in oppression. By taking on the task of identifying racism among the oppressed the SPLC are focusing their battle on the people instead of focusing on the oppressor. This objectively hinders the struggle of the oppressed and aids the imperialists.
Within the people's movement we should always be vigilant in pointing out incorrect political line and practicing criticism and self-criticism, but we should not make broad declarations equating the oppressed people's organizations fight against national oppression with the racism of the oppressor nation fascist groups.
Finally, we want to echo this comrade's words of caution for interacting with academics, and include any media or any unknown people for that matter. We should engage with others on our terms and not open our doors to open-ended research, interviews and investigations.